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Snow Covered Coulees Snowmobile Tour
Lying on a plateau between the Mississippi River and its towering wooded bluffs, La Crosse is the jumping-off point for snowmobiling adventure though the inland hill and valley country. Trails wind through deeply incised valleys called coulees, then soar up to snow-covered ridge-top runs with breathtaking views. Covering large parts of La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon Counties and dipping briefly into Juneau County, this tour takes in three of Wisconsin's wonderful rail-trails: the La Crosse River, the 400, and the Elroy-Sparta State Trails. Think of them as on-ramps to countless other sledding opportunities on more than 500 miles of adjoining county trails. The La Crosse Doll Museum displays an extensive collection of antique and contemporary dolls. The Children's Museum of La Crosse presents three floors of hands-on exhibits for the kids. Riding east from the Medary trailhead, the trail runs alongside the active Milwaukee Road rail line before Corridor Trail #31 splits off to the south. The sentinel white steeple of the little brick church in Barre Mills is a valley beacon guiding you into rural Wisconsin. Soon you'll soar to the ridge top as you climb skyward out of Tollefson Coulee. Miles of 'top of the world' riding follow along St. Joseph Ridge. A descent to Coon Creek takes you to the picturesque small town of Coon Valley which, despite its diminutive size (population 817), takes up all the flat land between the points of six towering 400-foot bluffs. Then, it's up, up, and away on Corridor Trail #29 a real ridge runner to Westby, a town with strong ties to its Norwegian heritage, where the Westby Snowflake Ski Club hosts it's annual international ski jumping competition. Athletes from around the world gather to challenge Westby's 112-meter hill. At Westby, you can opt for this tour's short loop by heading north on Corridor Trail #27 into the Amish country around Cashton. Then, it's on to Norwalk, Sparta and back to La Crosse. Or, you can complete the longer tour by riding the ridge tops to Viroqua on Corridor Trails #27/29. Known for its concentration of antique and gift shops, Viroqua maintains its delightful 19th Century character while offering visitors many contemporary services. Continuing south, Corridor Trail #32 drops into the valley of the Kickapoo River, one of the most scenic in the state. Over thousands of years, the meandering Kickapoo has sculpted its limestone bed creating carved bluffs and outcrops that leave visitors in awe. The small, valley towns of Readstown, Viola and La Farge offer plenty of pit stop possibilities as you ride this wonderful part of Corridor Trail #27. North of La Farge you plunge into the deep hardwood forest of the 8,569-acre Kickapoo Valley Reserve. The Reserve is a four-season playground for snowmobilers, hikers, canoeists and horseback riders. You'll climb four ridges for some fantastic views before leaving the Kickapoo and climbing Moon Ridge for the run east to Hillsboro. At Hillsboro, your ridge-running days are nearly over from here back to La Crosse a series of connected rail-bed trails keeps you mostly in smooth and level flight. From Hillsboro, a four-mile spur line takes you to Union Center and the "400" State Trail leaing you north to Elroy and a connection to the 40-mile Elroy-Sparta State Trail (Corridor Trail #30). Turning west, you'll visit the friendly communities of Kendall, Wilton, Norwalk and Sparta. Your ride won't be all flat though; between Kendall and Sparta the railroad bored three tunnels though the steep hills. The snowmobile trail just detours over the ridge tops. At Sparta, you'll connect with the La Crosse River State Trail for the final 21-mile run through Rockland, Bangor and West Salem to the trailhead at Medary.